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Being a Registered Manager to an ‘Outstanding’ Social Care Provider during the pandemic.

Following on from our interview with Michelle Dudderidge at Hand in Hands we have been able to interview their Registered Manager, Foto Pupurayi.

Foto has worked as a Registered Manager for 10 years and has previous experience of other social care environments including residential homes and day centres.

Hand in Hands is a private social care provider.  Currently supporting approximately 30 individuals across their Supported Living services and with community outreach provision.

In this 3 part series Foto gives us a glimpse into how an ‘Outstanding’ service provider delivers their care.

In part one we asked him to share how they maintained their rating during one of the biggest challenges the care sector has ever seen, Covid-19.

Over the past 2 years, COVID-19 has been the biggest challenge we have faced, along with the rest of the world. When lockdown was announced we had the initial fear that the individuals we support would be unable to understand the restrictions enforced on their lives, their usual routines and maintaining contact with the family and others who are important to them.

Our priority was to keep the individuals and our staff safe and this took much meticulous planning in regard to shift allocations for our community outreach services, to minimise cross-over and the risk of infection transmission, and supporting our team of committed staff to undertake block shifts in our supported living services, moving in for several days at a time and leaving their own families to ensure our individuals were safe.

The reliability and true commitment of our amazing staff team was key to our success during this time. My role as the Registered Manager was to ensure that they were fully supported and their well-being was maintained at all times.

The commitment from staff in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, included:

  • Staff, including managers, being allocated to specific individuals so as not to cross-overservices and minimise risk of infection transmission.
  • Staff, including managers, where necessary, moving into the supported living services for block shifts.
  • One staff member isolating for 14 days with an individual in a 1 bedroom flat.
  • One staff member supporting an individual to the vaccination centre and then having the jab first to reassure the individual.
  • Management purchasing food shopping and collecting medication for all individuals and doing doorstep deliveries’.
  • Care and support plans for community based individuals being adjusted to ensure they received support in all areas, including areas not normally commissioned. For example, food shopping and collecting medication.

As a team we had to think creatively about the how and what activities they did during the COVID-19 Pandemic. All angles were considered to ensure the safety of the individuals and staff.

Here are some examples of the kinds of things we did.

Creating additional space for recreational activities

An outbuilding (garage) was converted at one supported living service (the female service at Mendip Way, which you visited and used).

It was split into two rooms, one was set up as an activity room with a large table so individuals could draw, paint, make models etc. Staff made lists with the individuals of the arts and crafts they would like to do and the Registered Manager, PF, purchased all art and craft items required online from Amazon due to HobbyCraft being closed.

There was also a smaller table set-up in the same room so the individuals could have beauty treatments, including having their hair styled and coloured (as hairdressers were closed) and having their nails painted with colours of their choice and nail art. 

Staff had to learn how to do nail art and followed YouTube videos and internet guidance with the individuals to achieve this. Again, staff made lists with the individuals of the equipment, including nail colours and a nail dryer they would need and the Registered Manager, PF, purchased all items online from Amazon.

The second room was set up as a home cinema.  A large screen and projector was purchased and installed.  A variety of DVDs were gathered from staff and families and a film library was set-up.  A sofa and armchair was purchased.

Once visiting restrictions lifted, the furniture in this room was moved around and this was then used for individuals to meet their families and professionals in a safe space which was in line with social distancing guidelines.

Providing additional technology to maintain contact

iPads and mobile telephones were purchased by the organisation and given to all staff to use with individuals.

Programmes such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp, online educational courses and both digital and audio story books and digital how to…’ books, for example, how to learn to draw, how to learn to cook etc. were installed.

All staff were provided with training to use the devices and the programmes.

As well as being able to maintain regular family and friend contact, the individuals were supported to take part in online education, for example, entry level qualifications in maths and literacy, to enhance their development and skills by learning new things and individuals with particular religious beliefs were supported to take part in church and prayer services and listen to religious music.

The internet connections at all supported living services were upgraded and mobile internet connection devices were provided to all community outreach staff to ensure all individuals, who normally accessed the community for activities, including those who did not have internet access, could be supported to take part in a variety of different activities of their choice.

Creating a programme of regular communication

Daily telephone calls were made to all individuals who receive community support to ensure their health and wellbeing was maintained.  They were reminded daily of COVID-19 guidelines including not going out, wearing face masks, regularly washing their hands and social distancing. All individuals were provided with face masks and hand sanitiser to carry at all times.

One individual who lives alone and is commissioned for 70 hours care and support per week was allocated two staff to ensure his needs were met. 

As he was unable to access the community groups he would normally attend, this posed a problem so he was supported to maintain contact with the groups via digital devices and encouraged to take part in daily exercise locally to his home and also undertake specific activities within the home including gardening, arts and crafts, baking and domestic tasks.

Thank you Foto for kicking off the series with some excellent examples of how a service provider can think outside of the box to ensure the needs and wishes of service users are met in creative ways during challenging times. The commitment and dedication shown by the Hand in Hands team highlights how, when management prioritise staff wellbeing and ensure they feel supported, can contribute towards high quality service provision and a team that really cares about the needs of others.

We recognise that maintaining staff morale and staff retention is one of the trickiest components of our sector. Join us for Part 2 where Foto shares with us his tips for keeping staff morale high and staff turnover low.

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